Benefit delivery | CPAG

Benefit delivery

A UC sink hole – the minimum income floor returns

30 July 2021
Last October, Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis tweeted a warning about the ‘huge sink hole awaiting many self-employed’ people when the suspension of universal credit’s minimum income floor ended. While the government extended the suspension, it now ends this week. Self-employed workers up and down the country will start to be affected (with some possible concessions) after 31 July, and may face huge financial difficulties as a result.   

Universal credit and work: the reality

21 July 2021
In attempting to justify the unjustifiable, namely the cut to universal credit that is due in October, secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey said the government was: ‘shift[ing] the focus strongly on to getting people into work.’ But this is a cut that will affect millions of working families. The government has subjected our social security system to so many cuts and freezes that families desperately needed the £20 increase and it must stay, but universal credit’s very design still makes it hard for parents to escape poverty through work.

Universal credit: what needs to change to make it fit for children and families?

21 July 2021
Universal credit (UC) is now the main working-age benefit in the UK. Since its inception, UC has been plagued with administrative issues and budget cuts and, as a result, its early promise to reduce poverty has yet to be realised. When the pandemic hit, swift changes were needed to make UC fit for purpose including an increase in the amount of financial support provided and a relaxation of some of its most punitive rules. However, the vast majority of these positive changes have already been reversed, or are due to be reversed in the coming months.

Falling Through the Net - Briefing 4

22 June 2021
This is the fourth in a series of regular briefings which highlight some of the persistent gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.

How can we improve social security? Let’s start by listening to families

24 March 2021
While some of us are counting down the days until the next stage of unlocking, eager to go out for a meal or go shopping, for many families living on a low income there is no end in sight. As one parent explained, the end of restrictions would mean going “from a viral lockdown to a financial lockdown”.

Falling Through the Net - briefing 2

25 February 2021
This is the second in a series of regular briefings which highlight some of the persistent gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.

New survey shows deteriorating living standards for low-income families as a result of Covid-19

14 December 2020
Low-income families with children are even worse off now than they were in the summer, the latest Poverty in the Pandemic report from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England shows. Nearly 9 in 10 families report a significant deterioration in their living standards because of the pandemic – up from 8 in 10 families who responded to an earlier survey between May and July 2020.

Access to justice, one step at a time: Part 2

17 November 2020
Part 1 set out our approach at CPAG to access to justice in the social security field, namely ensuring: access to information, access to advice and assistance, and access to mechanisms for challenging unlawful decisions. Continuing with the last of these steps, the normal route for challenging a social security decision is by appealing it to a tribunal. Sometimes though, the appeal route is not available or, while available in principle, is not effective. In those situations, the route of legal challenge is judicial review.

Furthering access to justice, one step at a time: Part 1

17 November 2020
The ‘rule of law’ and ‘access to justice’ are concepts that are seen as fundamental to the proper functioning of a healthy, democratic society. The rule of law becomes perilously fragile if ordinary people are unable to hold public bodies to account.

Algorithms in social security: cause for concern?

28 August 2020
Two weeks ago pupils, parents and schools were up in arms when the news broke that 40 per cent of teacher-assessed A level results had been downgraded by at least one grade. The culprit? A computer, or to be precise, an algorithm. This episode clearly shows the chaos that can be caused to people’s lives when the technology that so many parts of public services now rely on goes wrong.